Keeping your credit history safe with with two-step verification

Filed in blog, Credit Monitoring, Personal Finance by on March 14, 2014 0 Comments

Online credit fraud will naturally see an increase as Canadians become more comfortable doing shopping or banking online. In fact, online banking has seen an exponential increase partly because of the convenience of being able to pay bills and transfer money while at home.

Identity theft techniques can range from unsophisticated, such collecting your information by sifting through your garbage or through more elaborate schemes using the internet. Phishing, hacking and use of spywares and viruses are some of the ways criminals capture personal information. That is why is so important to keep track of your credit history. Anyone can be a victim of fraud.

Consider using a two-step verification system also known as multi-factor authentication (MFA) to keep your credit profile safe. MFA is not a new concept and has been around for a long time, see Wikipedia’s definition. Generally we don’t make super complicated passwords for our login credentials, in fact, we tend to use the same password for every site we go to. A 2 stage system can help resolve this by offering up randomly generated passwords to make it much more difficult to crack.

Basically when you log in to a website, you are asked for your login and password information. If those items are verified the doors will open. In an MFA scenario, there is a second door with a password. This time it is randomly generated and time limited. As you begin your login process, you will be prompted to enter your randomly generated passcode. The passcode is typically generated by an app on your phone or a code generator that only you have in your possession. It is unique to each site and unique to each individual. Essentially you end up with a much stronger way of protecting your credit information.

A great example of 2 step verification exists in many websites today. Google gmail, Hotmail, Facebook, Paypal, ING Direct and many others use some sort of 2 level verification system. If you have an iPhone, Blackberry or an Android phone, have a look at Google’s Authenticator app. Personally, I’ve seen credit fraud happen to the best of people and it usually starts with a criminal gaining access to your personal information. Where ever I can, I make use of MFA. Having said that it is not fool proof, but will definately give you an edge in personal data security. The best way to keep your credit history safe is to keep fraudsters out in the first place.

In addition to making passwords more complex, the Authenticator app provides you with another level of security.  Close the front door and add second door. While fraudsters are kept out of your personal information, you will want to make sure you are regularly monitoring your history to make sure things are still secure.

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About the Author ()

Pat Drummond is the author of Credit Reports Canada and considered by many to be one of the leading experts on productivity and simplicity in relation to financial planning. He started this online credit score & reporting site to chronicle and share what he’s learned in over 20 years of counseling families and individuals on debt management, obtaining loans and improving credit scores.

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